When motorcycle brakes are applied,
especially when used forcefully, the weights
of the rider and cargo shift forward. This can
cause the braking force to be much greater
on the front brake than the rear brake.
You need to practice braking to
understand how much pressure you can
apply to each brake without locking the
wheel. Braking to the point just before the
wheels lock is called threshold braking.
Not locking the wheels allows you to
still control the steering. It also prevents
skidding. If a wheel locks and skids, the
tire may slide to one side, making the
motorcycle difficult to control.
If your motorcycle has anti-lock brakes
(ABS), you will need practice to get the feel
for this type of braking.
Frequent checks in your mirrors as you
ride will allow you to be aware of what is
behind you. This will help you to make
decisions to avoid being hit from behind
when you must stop quickly.
Controlled braking in
• Try to go around the problem by using
an escape route. If you must brake
when the front wheel is turned, do
it gradually using threshold braking
smoothly. Use less pressure than you
• If going around the problem is not an
option, keep the motorcycle upright and
the front wheel straight while you apply
• If your front wheel locks, release the
hand brake lever only enough to
unlock the wheel, then reapply the
• If your rear brake locks, keep it locked.
Only release the rear brake if you are on
a loose surface such as sand or gravel
and need to regain control.
• Do not take your feet off the foot pegs.
If you take your feet off the foot pegs,
you will not be able to use your rear
brake or change gears.
• When going around the problem is not an
option and you must stop as quickly as
possible, with the motorcycle not leaning
use both brakes to maximum threshold.
If an obstacle appears suddenly in your
path, you may not be able to stop in time.
To avoid a crash you may be able to do
a controlled swerve around the obstacle.
To go to the right around the obstacle,
push on your right hand grip to lean the
motorcycle to the right. To go to the left
around the obstacle, push on your left
hand grip to lean the motorcycle to the left.
A sudden change in acceleration,
steering, braking, or braking while the
motorcycle is leaning can cause a loss of
control. It is recommended that you do not
brake while you are swerving around an
object. If you need to brake, do it before you
lean and after you straighten the motorcycle.